Thursday, July 08, 2004

Untying The Gordian Knot: ICT For Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding

Fascinating paper from Sanjana Hattotuwa titled "Untying the Gordian Knot: ICT for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding" June 2004, courtesy of Robin Good, on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been used in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution process in Sri Lanka.

Infoshare, organization to which Sanjana belongs, deployed a series of collaboration technologies to empower and connect individuals within different regions and organizations (e.g. NGOs, INGOs, Donors, Humanitarian agencies) to help them directly participate in the peacemaking process in Sri Lanka by enabling knowledge sharing, instant and secure access to key information, ad-hoc network forming,"swarming", etc..

Sanjana has done a brilliant job putting in words what the key challenges and barriers in deploying ICTs in the full-field peacebuilding process are. If you're interested about full-field technology access, adoption and appropriation,

..ICT does not promise a goal, it fertilises the process of peacebuilding itself.

... effective communication and collaboration is a cornerstone in any peace process, and has a pivotal factor in the progress of the process itself. For stakeholders engaged in a peace process, the overwhelming abundance of raw data must be weighed against always accessible, secure, trusted information that helps them to work together, and collaborate on programmes, projects and interventions that buttress peace building.

This study argues that the defining characteristic of ICT in peacebuilding is that it enables information flows that not only radically subvert existing patterns of knowledge flows and power centres, but in empowering organisations, groups and individuals to produce and share information between other (and within sectors), helps bring a greater degree of cohesion, transparency and accountability to processes of conflict transformation that were hitherto unthinkable.

...ICT interventions, however well intentioned, may actually serve to exacerbate existing fault-lines within and between ethnic groups and communities.

....there are a plethora of technologies that are already used for communication and collaboration, but the greatest potential for the use of ICT for peacebuilding comes from technologies which are broadly termed Peer-to-Peer (P2P). see diagram below


You can access the full report (Word 2.81MB) from here [link]

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